Salmonellosis can affect dogs, cats and people. It can often lead to other disorders including gastroenteritis, septicemia and miscarriage.
Symptoms generally develop 12 to 72 hours after infection and will last 4 to 7 days. Many can recover without treatment, however, due to the risk of dehydration and diarrhea, special attention should be taken to ensure your pet is properly hydrated.
- Weight Loss
- Skin disease
- Mucus in stool
- Abnormally fast heart rate
- Swollen Lymph Nodes
- Abnormal vaginal discharge
Salmonella can be transmitted through contaminated food. Food may be contaminated during manufacturing, handling or processing. It can also show up in places with unsanitary conditions and from people who do not wash their hands after using the restroom.
Animals that carry Salmonella can pass it through their feces. They can then have the contaminant on their feet, fur and anyplace where the pets live or roam. Younger and older pets are susceptible to infection due to compromised immune systems or underdeveloped systems. Risk factors also include dogs and cats with weakened immune systems. Pets taking antibiotics can also be at risk as the good bacteria in their system is out of balance during their treatment of medications.
Diagnosis can be challenging as your pet may not show clinical symptoms. Sometimes symptoms can be confused with parasites, food based allergies, diseases like E.Coli, bacterial or viral gastroenteritis or other stresses. A fecal and/or blood culture is recommended to verify the presence of Salmonella bacteria.
Dehydration is one of the top concerns in treatment, particularly in young puppies and older or senior pets. Depending on the severity of the infection, your veterinarian may recommend home care or keeping your pet in the clinic for observation. In extreme cases of Salmonella, your pet may need a blood or plasma transfusion. This can be a serious illness and could possibly cause death if not properly treated. It is important to replace lost electrolytes during this time. Your vet may order a 48 hour fast from food as part of your pets care. Keep your dog on a healthy and nutritionally balanced diet, free from corn, wheat or soy, steer clear from any artificial ingredients. Avoid feeding raw or undercooked meats as this poses a risk for salmonella.
Protect yourself and your family
Remember that Salmonella can be transferred to people. That said, be sure to follow these steps to protect yourself.
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water after touching your animals, their food, treats, bedding, etc.
- Disinfect and clean any surfaces that have been in contact with animals. Only older children and adults should do this. Do not allow any children under 5 years old to clean these areas.
- Use gloves when cleaning if possible.
Visit CDC website to learn more about protecting your family from infection.